After Budapest I had made no plans. So as I sat down with my iPad on my last night in Hungary, I was intimidated by the number of options before me. I thought about getting lost in Romania for a few weeks. I considered heading straight to Prague. Ultimately, I decided to explore Slovakia. I was not sure where to start, but then I saw something online about the European Folk Craft Festival, Slovakia's largest festival of handicrafts, coming soon to a small Slovakian town near me. The festival was to start the day I was leaving Budapest, so the timing could not be better.
With a goal in mind, I woke up way too early to catch an 0630 train from Budapest to Kosice in eastern Slovakia. (This was the only direct train there, so I had no choice.) I then took a fancy Euro City train from Kosice to Poprad, whereupon I hopped on a small, two-car train to Kezmarok, the site of the festival.
I arrived at the festival right as it started to rain, and it continued to drizzle for pretty much the rest of the day. The festival consisted of about one hundred craftspeople hawking their wares. Many of them were also making things on site, which is why I was interested in visiting. There were also folk music and dance performances, as well as traditional Slovakian food. The crowd steadily grew throughout the afternoon in spite of the rain.
Here we have a weaver.
One person carved out the inside of these wooden bowls, and another person carved the outside. All the carving was done with an adz, giving the bowls a rough-hewn look, and giving you 13 points in Scrabble.
I liked this foot powered scroll saw, but I never saw him use it.
Here we have a giant chicken and many large wooden spoons.
There was a woodcarver selling these amazing wooden houses.
There were several blacksmiths working at portable forges.
They made all the sharp pointy things.
What the festival really needed was more cowbell. This set was played later for a musical performance.
I decided not to stay the night in Kezmarok, as all the available lodging was too expensive. My plan was to visit the open air museum in Bardejov the next day, so I found somewhere to stay in Presov, which is the nearest reasonably sized town to Bardejov (and also, conveniently, where you have to change trains).
On my way out of Kezmarok, there was an operational steam engine sitting on the tracks.
They let me visit the engine room. The dial indicates that there is steam pressure inside the boiler.